By Axel Tonconogy

Romney And Obama Present Their Visions At ‘Education Nation’

September 25, 2012 7:55 pm Category: Memo Pad 20 Comments A+ / A-

Tuesday, for the first time in this campaign, the subject of education bubbled to the surface and took center stage. At NBC News’ Education Nation, an annual summit to discuss the current state of education in the U.S. and the ways it can be improved, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney laid out their visions of how to keep America competitive in that arena.

Mitt Romney displayed a toned-down, less-aggressive position on the topic of unions. He did not call for their dissolution, but argued that their members should be held accountable. “The teachers’ union has every right to represent their members in the way they think is best,” Romney said. “But we have every right to say, ‘no, this is what we want to do,’ which is in the best interest of our children.”

Romney was also critical of the role of teachers’ unions in politics. He denounced the unions’ financial contributions to political campaigns, which he argued took the focus away from the students.

“We simply can’t have a setting where the teachers’ unions are able to contribute tens of millions of dollars to the campaigns of politicians and then those politicians, when elected, stand across from them at the bargaining table, supposedly to represent the interest of the kids. I think it’s a mistake,” Romney said at the forum. “I think we’ve got to get the money out of the teachers’ unions going into campaigns. It’s the wrong way for us to go.”

According to Romney, it is Democrats who primarily benefit:

But people are able to give — in the case of the Democratic Party, I don’t mean to be terribly partisan, but I kind of am — in the case of the Democratic Party, the largest contributors to the Democratic Party are the teachers’ unions, the federal teachers’ union.

In the course of his appearance, Romney reversed himself on his previous position on the importance of class size. He cited a report from the McKinsey Institute negating the impact of teacher-to-student ratios. “They said, first of all, within a normal band of population, that the classroom size didn’t seem to be driving the quality of education,” Romney said. “That — obviously at some extreme that would figure into it, be a major impact, but within the normal range that exists in schools, it wasn’t classroom size that was driving it.”

Organizations like Class Size Matters stress the benefits of class size reductions, with a special focus on New York but also the broader nation as a whole. Citing studies and statistics, the nonprofit organization chronicles the detriments of increasing class sizes, but also the improvements in smaller ones.

Pages →  1 2

Romney And Obama Present Their Visions At ‘Education Nation’ Reviewed by on . Tuesday, for the first time in this campaign, the subject of education bubbled to the surface and took center stage. At NBC News’ Education Nation, an annual su Tuesday, for the first time in this campaign, the subject of education bubbled to the surface and took center stage. At NBC News’ Education Nation, an annual su Rating:

More by Axel Tonconogy

Susan Rice Drops Out Of Secretary Of State Consideration

UN Ambassador Susan Rice is withdrawing from consideration for Secretary of State, NBC News reported Thursday. The embattled ambassador, harshly criticized by the GOP for her unintentionally misleading statements following the attack in Benghazi, cited partisan politics in a letter to President Obama. “If nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be

Read more...

VIDEO: Senator Jim DeMint Predicts Obama Will Get His Tax Hike

Republican South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, a powerful conservative voice in the GOP, forecast that President Obama would “get his wish” in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations and succeed in raising taxes. DeMint, who earlier this month resigned from the Senate to become president of the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, accused Obama of “intentionally trying

Read more...

Fox News Analyst: ‘Extreme Left Won’t Be Happy Until We Give Terrorists Food Stamps’

In an era of rare bipartisanship, President Obama’s drone program is unique in at least one, major way: Republicans actively and consistently support it. What is not unique: Fox News analysts’ endless capacity for generating moronic soundbites. The latest comes from Ralph Peters, the network’s resident “strategic analyst,” brought aboard The O’Reilly Factor Monday night

Read more...

Tags

Comments

  • sisterH

    Great Job Romney! Put the kids first and take politics out. Teachers need to serve the kids not the corrupt bully Unions. Kids are our future. We must educate and empower them so that they can contribute to society and have the chance to prosper.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

      You are right, kids are our future, and that is precisely why the demonization of teachers by the GOP is so damaging to our country. The idea that teachers, or any other union member, spend their time listening and supporting union bosses is something that only finds fertile ground in a Tea Party forum.

    • phantomoftheopera

      really? teachers, who form the union, are also corrupt? the problem is that most teachers are liberal, very liberal. they see the effects of hunger, homelessness, abuse, poverty on students, effects that block these students ability to become fully educated. if romney were suggesting more money for that, it might be different. but he’s not. he just wants the rich to get richer, helping to continue the poverty cycle. and teachers just might get in his way if their political might is used.

      yes, kids are our future. and the unions are trying to ensure that they are educated. many others really don’t care. they want teachers to be poor, too.

      and as to educated–take a look at texas, which wanted to ban the teaching of critical thinking skills, the basis of true education.

  • daniel bostdorf

    Sisterh….you be sounding like Rove again…

    Unions are the middle class.
    Romney is the 1%.
    Romney/Ryan want to eliminate the Department fo Education…

    You desperately need to read a book about history of civilization. Or maybe stop listening to right wing propaganda…

    You perpetuate lies like a good nazis a foxnews reporter, limbaugh, rove, beck..

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    by Joseph Goebbels

    or as Adolph Hitler stated:
    “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it”

    Keep lying sisterh…

    Keep posting because you are exposing yourself as a Republican machine operative….

  • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

    The GOP has made teachers the target of some of its most vicious attacks for decades and, therefore, the latest is far from being unexpected. Their attacks are consistent with those who prefer to blame the weakest link for the failures of society. Our K-12 problems are not caused by unqualified or uncommitted teachers, but by neglect at home, by the absence of parental guidance and encouragement, and by the emergence of electronic gadgets that keep our kids from doing their homework, studying and preparing for the challenges of the 21st century. Public education is one of the most important reasons in our ability to become the dominant superpower we have been for decades. Home schooling, charter schools, and religious schools are not the solution, they may very well turn out to be the straw the broke the camel’s back if implemented.

    • daniel bostdorf

      Particularly “charter schools.”

      Well thought out post as usual!

    • CAThinker

      I agree that home schools, charter schools and religious schools are not the solution. I have always had problem with home schools – my personal observation of home schooling is that it has been pursued by parents that really don’t understand learning theory, did not have a post-high school education and are attempting to “protect” their children from the “evils of society”. I believe home schooling should be regulated and that parents that choose to do that should be qualified through education or through standardized testing.

  • frivolous01

    I’d have to say that, yet again, Romney is showing his hypocritical side here. He doesn’t think teachers or unions should be able to donate politically because they will later ‘be across the table’ which creates a conflict of interest. Yet he takes millions from corporations that will later also ‘be across the table’ and that isn’t a conflict of interest?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Honey-Bucket/100001946498613 Honey Bucket

    Romney is stupid if he thinks class size doesn’t matter. He doesn’t like the teachers union for contributing to political campaigns but he thinks it’s ok for his church to donate almost 50MIllion dollars to political causes to kill the gay marriage (Prop. 8) in California. This is after they get tax exempt status.
    As far as grading teachers on test scores and basing their pay on them, I think it’s wrong. Teachers can teach and be the best teacher, however if the student doesn’t do his part like homework, pay attention in class, get enough sleep and food the test scores will be low. My kids always did good in school because I was there always making sure they did their homework and I was on them about their grades. A lot of kids don’t have structure at home to ensure decent grades. Also, kids from poorer schools normally get lower grades because of their parents lifestyle and teachers from the inner city poor schools would start getting lower pay than teachers from the rich areas of towns.
    The big city schools seem to put more money into the richer areas and lower funds to inner city schools.
    Make the money spent fair and stop harassing teachers. Parents are the main fault in kids not doing well in school.

  • daniel bostdorf

    Tonconogy stated it best with this Obama quote:

    “What we’ve said to school districts is, ‘You’ve gotta emphasize high accountability, high standards. Make sure that teachers know that we’re going to be paying attention to the actual outcomes for kids. But we’re also going to give more resources to schools who are doing the right thing: Training teachers, providing them the professional development and support that they need….I just really get frustrated when I hear teacher-bashing as evidence of reform. My sister is a former teacher. She now works at the university, working with teachers. And I can tell you that they work so hard. They’re putting money out of their own pockets in the classroom every single day. They’re not doing it for the pay.”

    Romney is the classic “double thinker” of george Orwell’s 1984.

    “Mr. Etch-A-Sketch” will not be president.

    The poll numbers today in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania have him up by about 6%:

    “…. tracking model, which also corrects for pollster “house effects” ie consistent differences across polling firms — currently gives Obama an advantage of just over six percentage points.”

  • randrjwr

    Romney says “We simply can’t have a setting where the teachers’ unions are able to contribute tens of millions of dollars to the campaigns of politicians and then those politicians, when elected, stand across from them at the bargaining table, supposedly to represent the interest of the kids. I think it’s a mistake,” Romney said at the forum. “I think we’ve got to get the money out of the teachers’ unions going into campaigns. It’s the wrong way for us to go.”

    So, why then isn’t it also wrong for corporations to contributes similar amounts to politicians who then are in a position to benefit them (and do benefit them in spades while supposedly representing the interest of the American people)? It seems to me that all the workers that have lost their union representation have ended up virtual slaves and the same thing will happen to the teachers if they lose theirs. Support of politicians who are sympathetic is necessary to defend against the many politicians who are not.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZJ5BBSQIGTUMERPZFALES6HQNY Bill

      Doesn’t Romney think unions are people just like corporations!!! If the teachers union was backing him he sure would think that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joan-Maurer/100000910841619 Joan Maurer

    We cannot attract high paying jobs to our country if we do not have the educational resources to provide the workers those jobs require. An investment in education is an investment in America and Americans.

    Virtually all of the rags to riches stories that touch us are about education as the road up and out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Myers/100001512942781 Jim Myers

    The simple side of the equation is this.

    THE TEACHERS UNION IS THE WEAKEST LINK IN THE ORGANIZED LABOR CHAIN, PARTICULARLY IN GOVERNMENT LABOR UNIONS. THAT IS WHY THE “CONSERVATIVES” GO AFTER THEM FIRST.

    If they manage to disable the Teachers Unions, the next weakest link will then become their target. And so on, and so on. Until they have managed to destroy the Labor Unions completely. Then the only organized political organizations will be the Ultra-conservatives.

    ONCE THEY HAVE MANAGED TO DESTROY ANY RESISTANCE TO THEM, THE POLITICS OF THE FUTURE WILL BE CONTROLLED BY THE ULTRA-CONSERVATIVE AND THE ULTRA-RICH.

    THAT FUTURE WILL BE FERTILE GROUND FOR THE ANTI-REGULATION, ANTI-TAX, (AT LEAST FOR THE RICH), FREE MARKET SPENDING HABITS OF THE EXTREME RIGHT. THEY ALL BELIEVE THAT MASSIVE DEBT IS OKAY, AS LONG AS IT IS DONE BY THE RIGHT WINGERS, AND NOT THE “PROGRESSIVES.”

    EVEN THE “SAINTED” RIGHT WINGER, DICK CHENEY MADE THE COMMENT THAT “RONALD REAGAN SHOWED US THAT DEFICITS DON’T MATTER.”

    CONTRAST THAT TO THE MESSAGE WE ARE HEARING FROM THE RIGHT-WINGERS NOW. OF COURSE, WE HAVE A DEMOCRAT IN OFFICE NOW, SO THEY LIKE TO BLAME THE HUGE DEFICITS ON OBAMA. AND TOTALLY IGNORE THE MASSIVE DEBT THAT THE “CONSERVATIVES” PILED ON DURING THE REAGAN YEARS, FOLLOWED BY GEORGE THE FIRST, (THE LAST REPUBLICAN I EVER VOTED FOR. A MISTAKE I NEVER INTEND TO REPEAT.) AND, LET US NOT FORGET THOSE WONDERFUL YEARS UNDER GEORGE THE SECOND AND DICK CHENEY.

    Is that the future you want to pass on to your children and grand-children?

    IF NOT, WAKE UP!!!!!!!!! THE FUTURE WILL DEPEND ON WHAT WE DO AT THE VOTING BOOTHS ACROSS OUR NATION.

  • daniel bostdorf

    As J. Steppers states in his blog:
    “Why Unions are Important to America
    March 24, 2011
    By J Stepper

    Without unions, there is no American middleclass

    There have been several states lately that have passed or are looking to pass bills that will severely restrict collective bargaining rights and the ability of the unions to collect dues. Without the ability to do those things, the unions will cease to exist.

    If unions ceased to exist, would that be a bad thing? Yes, it would be very detrimental to this country and here is why.

    First, before we discuss this we need to know the history of how unions came to be in the first place, and what their place in America has been.

    At the end of the nineteenth century, conditions for employees in this country were horrendous. The worker had no rights and had to do whatever his employer wanted him or her to do regardless of what that was or be fired. This included doing things like working 6 days a week, 16 hours a day, or working in unsafe conditions. The American worker was being exploited and American businesses were getting rich from that exploitation.

    By the turn of the twentieth century, unions began to become more assertive as Congress became suspicious of big business in this country, thinking they were restricting free trade. Congress soon passed laws, like the Sherman Antitrust Act to prohibit monopolistic business practices. Unions gained more power as the employer power was reduced.

    Working for a union meant that you had better and safer working conditions, better pay and benefits than the nonunion folks. Then in March of 1911 the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire occurred in New York City. It was a sweatshop that was located in the garment district of New York. The fire caused the death of 146 garment workers who either died in the fire or jumped to their deaths from the eighth, ninth and tenth floors. Most of the victims were recent Jewish and Italian immigrant women aged sixteen to twenty-three. The women had to jump because the managers had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits.

    The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire shined a glaring spotlight on the conditions that many Americans were working under. It also brought into sharp contrast the difference between the conditions of those who worked in a union shop as opposed to those who didn’t.

    Because of unions and the work they have done, Americans now enjoy eight hour days, forty hour weeks, weekends and holidays off. Unions also brought in overtime pay and benefits. Unions set the wages in this country. Without having to compete with union jobs, an employer could pay whatever they wanted to. These all came along because of workers being unionized and the power that gave them with their employers. Because of their ability to set pay and benefits, the pay and benefits went up for all Americans. Unions essentially built the middle class in this country.

    But we already have all of that, so why do we need unions now?

    Good question. Without unions to keep businesses honest, wages will decrease along with workplace safety. All of the benefits the unions have gotten for the American people (higher wages, more safety etc.) cost the employers money. If they didn’t have to pay out those costs, they would make more money and they would certainly take advantage of that fact.

    As a case in point: Over the past 40 years, wages for Americans have declined at the same time union influence has declined while the amount of money the top 1% is taking in has skyrocketed. The green line on the graph is American’s wages. The blue line is the decline of unions and the red line is the piece of the American pie shared by the top 1%. Unions decline = wage decline = top 1% flourishing at the expense of the bottom 80%.

    That’s right, the middle class, on average is making less than they were in 1980. Let me repeat that: The middle class, on average is making less than they were in 1980.

    If that doesn’t convince you, this might. In Missouri State Senator Jane Cunningham, (R – MI.) introduced a bill to change the child labor laws in that state. She wants to make it easier to exploit for children to work:

    SB222 Modifies Child Labor Laws.
    SB 222 – This act modifies the child labor laws. It eliminates the prohibition on employment of children under age fourteen. Restrictions on the number of hours and restrictions on when a child may work during the day are also removed. It also repeals the requirement that a child ages fourteen or fifteen obtain a work certificate or work permit in order to be employed. Children under sixteen will also be allowed to work in any capacity in a motel, resort or hotel where sleeping accommodations are furnished. It also removes the authority of the director of the Division of Labor Standards to inspect employers who employ children and to require them to keep certain records for children they employ. It also repeals the presumption that the presence of a child in a workplace is evidence of employment.

    And this is with unions still in power. What do you think would happen with no checks and balances against big business?

    If labor unions are eliminated in this country, it will signal the beginning of the end for fair wages, workplace safety, child labor laws, overtime, paid holidays and every other benefit that they union has provided the American people. We will be back in the Gilded Age where there were two classes of people; the poor and the super-rich.”

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3J6OEWYHKZIJQD5X4CJCRJTKPE Patricia

    So the unions want a decent wage, health care benefits & a pension. Who doesn’t? Union jobs are middle class jobs, the kind of jobs we need in America. I don’t see any CEO’s or executives in companies taking any pay cuts or benefit cuts — quite the opposite — they get huge bonuses. And yet they begrudge union workers everything. If the unions are dismanted in the U.S. we will go back to how things were at the turn of the 20th century — no health care, no pension, cuts in wages — 2/3 of Americans essentially working minimum wage jobs as slave labor.

  • irmill68

    rummey cracks me up he is a true believer he belives that the 1% should be in the front i didnt hear hima and the rest of the gop complaining over the years when the proffessional unions were votiong differently than the rest it doesnt matter if you are democrat or republican we need people in office that are truley going to do whats best for all americans.

  • Cathyx

    Romney’s comments about teachers unions appear to assume that their purpose is to serve the teachers only. He says they have the right to a union but that “we” will do what we think is right for the students. He should look closely at the topics that are raised in union/school district talks, and see how many of the points the teachers are fighting for with their union efforts are in behalf of the students; are to improve the classroom environment; make teacher work loads managable so they can spend one on one time with troubled students. Teachers unions are supporters of education not just teacher salarys. That Romney doesnot realize this at all shows why teachers unions do not support Republicans very often. Another point the unions argue for often is cutting down on the number of high paid administrators in districts where class size goes down and income goes down and the district tries to cut out a higher % of teachers and not cut the same % of administrators.

  • Carolyn Stine

    Well…if politicians are going to impact our children’s education with their laws, teacher unions should by all means contribute to political candidates. Romney isn’t the brightest person, is he?

  • onedonewong

    as long as parents who are irresponsible popping out babies for welfare checks the success of our schools will never be achieved. Main streaming mentally challenged students only causes the dumbing down of the entire class.
    Time for cities to pass laws that mandates that poor performing students be accompanied to class and attended by their parents.

scroll to top